HOMESTEAD, Fla – Kyle Busch’s defense for his second straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title came up just short on Sunday night, as Busch brought his No. 18 Toyota home sixth at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. In the other 35 races of the season, Busch and his Joe Gibbs Racing team would be thrilled to come home sixth with how they had to earn that finish today.
Busch, moved up to the top five and was battling for the lead in the championship standings for the entire first half of the race, but a tire went down on his car on Lap 136. The right front tire issue would take him from fifth on track to 21st and a lap down as a result.
The Las Vegas native would earn his lap back and would benefit from a caution to get him back with the leaders shortly thereafter. But, he wouldn’t have a good enough car to contend until the end. Busch, would would get to second place on Lap 212 of the 268 lap event, as he was the top Chaser at that time of the race.
But, his teammate Carl Edwards was quicker and would pass Busch with 25 laps-to-go for that spot and become the top Chaser among the four competing for the championship. A caution would fly though with 15 to go giving Busch a second chance.
Unfortunately, on that pit stop during the yellow, Busch’s right rear tire changer rushed then he slipped trying to move to change the left rear tire. He would drop three spots and restart fifth.
On the restart, Edwards and Logano got into one another causing a melee. Busch would skate by and restart third. But, with Logano charging through the field on the ensuing restart and getting by Busch, his crew decided it was best to pit for new tires for the final restart.
Busch, would restart 13th, but not have enough time to win another championship as he would charge for a sixth place finish. It was his fourth straight top six to close out the year and 10th top 10 in the final 11 races.